Henry A. Waxman represents California's 29th Congressional District, which includes the complete cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, as well as such areas of Los Angeles as Beverly-Fairfax, the Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood, and Los Feliz.
Waxman chaired the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment from 1979 to 1994 and was the Subcommittee's Ranking Member in 1995 and 1996. He is currently the Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Committee.
Waxman has been a leader on health and environmental issues, including universal health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, tobacco, AIDS, air and water quality standards, pesticides, nursing home quality standards, women's health research and reproductive rights, the availability and cost of prescription drugs, and the right of communities to know about pollution levels.
Waxman has been involved in health issues since 1969, when he was appointed to the California State Assembly Health Committee. In Congress, Waxman has sponsored a long list of health bills that have been enacted into law. These measures include the Ryan White CARE Act, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, the Safe Medical Devices Act, the Patent Term Restoration and Drug Competition Act, and the Orphan Drug Act.
Waxman has also passed legislation that improves the quality of nursing homes and home health services and that sets policy for childhood immunization programs, vaccine compensation, tobacco education programs, communicable disease research, community and migrant health centers, maternal and child health care, family planning centers, health maintenance organizations, and drug regulation and reform.
Throughout the 1980s, Waxman championed national health care reform and improvements in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. He successfully led the fight for improved prenatal and infant care for low-income families, for protection against impoverishment for the spouses of persons in nursing homes, and for more services in the community for people needing long-term care. He has also been an advocate for prescription drug coverage in Medicare for people with high drug expenses.
In the environmental area, Waxman was one of the primary authors of the 1990 Clean Air Act, which sets out a comprehensive program to combat smog, acid rain, toxic air emissions, and ozone depletions. He also sponsored the 1986 and 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, the 1996 Food Quality Act (which regulates pesticides), the Radon Abatement Act, and the Lead Contamination Control Act. Waxman is continuing to pursue legislation to control indoor air pollution, and global warming.
Waxman is a leader in efforts to assist the elderly by providing them with opportunities for better health care through such programs as improved long-term nursing care and better housing and nutrition. A strong defender of the Social Security System, he fought moves to reduce benefits and to increase the retirement age. He was a co-author of legislation that abolished mandatory retirement for Federal employees and raised the retirement age in the private sector from 65 to 70.
Waxman has been a leading supporter of the right of women to have freedom of choice with respect to safe and legal abortions, including the full extension of this right to lower-income women who depend on the Medicaid program for health care. He has been at the forefront of efforts to stop any limitations on this right. He strongly opposes the prohibition of federally funded clinics from offering abortion information and counseling.
Since coming to Congress, Waxman has earned the reputation of being an expert on Middle East policy and an effective proponent of American aid to guarantee Israel's security and survival.
Prior to his election to Congress, Waxman served three terms in the California State Assembly, where he was chairman of the Health Committee, the Committee on Elections and Reapportionment, and the Select Committee on Medical Malpractice. He was the author of such major legislation as the Fair Campaign Practices Act, the Fair credit for Women Law, and the legislation establishing standards for Health Maintenance Organizations in California.
Henry Waxman was born September 12, 1939, in Los Angeles, and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA and a J.D. from the UCLA Law School. He and his wife, the former Janet Kessler, have a daughter and son-in-law, a son, and three grandchildren.
Source: Congressman Henry Waxman